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Tef Harvesting in South Africa

28th May 2013

Shelbourne Reynolds is now working closely with our new South African distributor D.A Tractors of Bergville, promoting our Stripper head has brought the harvesting of a crop that dates back to 4000bc into the 21st century.

Introduction to Tef

Eragrostis Tef  ( tef, teff , love grass )

The seed originates from Ethiopia where it is widely cultivated, they approximately plant  14 million ha of crop which produces around 0.9million tons of grain which forms a basis of their staple diet, the seed is made into a fluffy pancake type bread called injera .Unharvested field

Tef is grown in hot and reasonably dry climates and needs at least 450mm-500mm of rain to produce a profitable crop, yields can range from 300-2000kg per ha with an average of 1000kg with different strains of maturing tef the crop can be at full potential from 50 days to 160 days .

The plant dries off very quick and has quite a thin steam so the crop will often fall quite flat at harvest time, this can make it vulnerable to grain losses by wind, rain or hail damage so getting the crop harvested quickly and at the right time is essential.

Tef in south Africa and its new potential

Harvesting fieldFactors that make the demand for tef at a sustainable level is that the forage has nutritional value for horses cows and sheep,  the world is now more multi-cultural so the demand for the grain around the world has steadily risen, also new markets in health food as tef is gluten free and good for you.

 

 

 

 

NUTRITIONAL PROMISE

 

Main Components

 

Essential Amino Acids

 

Moisture (g)

11

Cystine

1.9

Food energy (Kc)

336

Isoleucine

3.2

Protein (g)

9.6

Leucine

6.0

Carbohydrate (g)

73

Lysine

2.3

Fat (g)

2.0

Methionine

2.1

Fiber (g)

3.0

Phenylalanine

4.0

Ash (g)

2.9

Threonine

2.8

Vitamin A (RE)

8

Tryptophan

1.2

Thiamin (mg)

0.30

Tyrosine

1.7

Riboflavin (mg)

0.18

Valine

4.1

Niacin (mg)

2.5

 

 

Vitamin C (mg)

88

 

 

Calcium (mg)

159

 

 

Chloride (mg)

13

 

 

Chromium (μg)

250

 

 

Copper (mg)

0.7

 

 

Iron (mg)

5.8

 

 

Magnesium (mg)

170

 

 

Manganese (mg)

6.4

 

 

Phosphorus (mg)

378

 

 

Potassium (mg)

401

 

 

Sodium (mg)

47

 

 

Zinc (mg)

2

   

Source; lost crops of Africa

There is a group of farmers that has worked hard in promoting tef is South Africa, they have formed the company Tef Growers S.A and used tef’s unique properties to establish themselves a market worldwide. The price that S.A farmers were getting for wheat was low so this was the chance that Tef Growers of South Africa needed to boost the acreage grown, the only drawback was the less than ideal methods they had to harvest the crop, this consisted of mowing the crop when it was green, raking the rows into a swath and then picking the swath up with a pick up head this could cause considerable losses of grain and a prolonged harvest.Cows grazing

Now with the use of the Shelbourne Reynolds Stripper head, harvesting output has risen from 20ha a day to 60 or even 70 ha harvested in a working day also early reports of a yield increase of 20% not to mention the increased fuel efficiency this all adds up to a stress free tef harvest.

After the crop has been harvested the farmer can still utilise the fodder crop but with slightly reduced green matter content this can be both swathed and baled or just left standing and put cows out to graze.


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